By Gene Phelps
TUPELO – Lucas Smith wasn’t expecting state championship times from his Tupelo High swim team in Saturday’s THS Invitational.
The Golden Wave boys and girls – who won the seven-school meet – had left a lot of sweat in the Rob Leake City Park pool in the days leading up to the event.
“Nobody was rested,” Smith said. “We are coming off a tough week of training. We need as much practice as we can get.
“We’ve got to use every day we can to get faster.”
Tupelo’s girls needed a win by its 400-yard freestyle relay team – Cris Roberts, Walker Fortenberry, Mattie Hughes and Taylor Greer – to edge Madison Central 165 to 153 in the points standings. The Lady Wave’s winning time was 3 minutes, 58.9 seconds.
Tupelo’s boys scored 198 points to beat its strongest competition – Oxford, 106 points and Madison Central, 94 points.
The Golden Wave and Lady Wave relay teams won all their races. In the 200 medley relay Lauren Bean, Roberts, Hughes and Chelsie Gray won in 1:59.03 while the boys unit of Connor Chase, Grant Thornton, Michael Ray and Connor Anderson won in 1:45.46.
In the 200 free relay, the Lady Wave unit of Fortenberry, Mackenzie Smith, Gray and Bean won in 1:46.52 while the boys unit of Anderson, Chandler Craig, Jarrett Estess and Ray won in 1:33.30. The boys won the 400 free in 3:30.25 with Craig, Chase, Patrick Hastings and Donovan Crossen in the pool.
In individual races, Gray, a sophomore won the girls 200 individual medley in 2:20.35 and the 100 breast in 1:11.96.
“I’m slowly improving, but it takes a lot of hard work,” Gray said.
Roberts, a junior, won the girls 100 butterfly in 1:00.28 and the 100 backstroke in 1:05.91. Anderson, a senior, won the boys 100 fly in 54.78 and 100 free in 49.67.
“It’s all about training,” Anderson said. “People are going to swim faster at Delta State (site of state meet) because they’re more excited.”